5 Reasons Tools Are Better Than Content Marketing

ashin January 14th, 2015

Growing your online audience (grabbing and engaging both members and potential members) is mission critical for associations, no matter the industry or vertical. And the myriad of marketing techniques that support audience growth now include content marketing, social media, marketing automation systems – and more.

But, there is a simple, cost effective tactic that is often overlooked – the practice of creating tools of value for your key audiences and making them available for members and non-members alike.

Traditionally, associations have often locked valuable tools behind the membership pay wall. But this is changing. While providing member value is of absolute importance, many associations are now taking a fresh look as to what tools and content can be used to attract, entice and educate prospective members.

Your association likely has some great tools you can employ right now, like:

  • Summaries of industry research
  • E-books
  • Calculators
  • Toolkits
  • Directories

5 Reasons Tools ROCK:

  1. Tools increase engagement and website “stickiness”. Many tools offer the opportunity for repeat visits, longer time on site and actionable help for prospective members.
  2. Many tools are ALREADY developed and exist within associations – which eliminate development time, resource needs and time to launch.
  3. Tools often offer a dual purpose: drive new membership as well as potential advertising and sponsorship revenue.
  4. The cost to entry is lower, in terms of internal resources to initiate, maintain, and service.
  5. The right tool can set your association apart from your competitors.

In particular, directories are highly effective tools to use to generate more traffic and potential members. By connecting prospective members with qualified partners, you help shortcut decisions, increase efficiencies and become a go-to resource for these new members. Providing a comprehensive resource directory draws non-members /potential members to you, giving you the opportunity for initial engagement. Plus, you’ll get a bigger opportunity to monetize the directory with sponsored listings and additional advertising if you’re promoting it to a larger audience than just your membership.

In order to attract non-member users to fuel your acquisition efforts, you’ll need a directory that is:

  • Search engine optimized
  • Has comprehensive basic listings – to make the directory valuable to users
  • Listing searches that can be customized geographically
  • Engaging design and navigation tools so the directory is easy to use
  • Self service features – vendor companies can claim, add, update and buy enhanced listings quickly and easily online
  • Strong calls to action to join the association with additional value add for membership

Check out how a large b-to-b publishing company utilized a new directory model to increase engagement and revenues.

Want to find out how you can optimize your directory? We can help – contact us today!